As a student I can list the staple parts of my diet on one hand… Take-aways, pizza, bacon sarnies, Nutella and Vodka (it’s a given). I look at that list with a sense of disgust (and, a suppressed sense of pride that I am still alive and functioning). Why do we do it? Because it is cheap and it is edible. If you’re anything like me, I’m home late after a long day of revision in the library (and “fitfinder” competitions; yes, my friends and I are that cool) only to find the cupboards are bare. Rats! I was supposed to buy food… And yes, I did write it on my hand, but my successes following this technique seem to be wavering. It’s stupid; I walked right past Lidl…twice! So I do, again, what all students do. I stand in my kitchen, frantically opening, closing, and re-opening cupboards hoping that food will find its way there. Come on little man who lives in the fridge…. I do believe in fairies; I do believe in fairies. And still nothing. No food, just ignored pots of chutney, far too much salt, and a mountain of chop-sticks still in the packets (these, may I add, I have collected from Chinese take-away’s, hoping one day I will have enough to reach something really far away whilst still sat on my couch…the moon perhaps?). Even the Nutella is all gone!
I have no food. Not a bean. Because that is how the world works. I am a law student, and unfortunately, reading Harry Potter doesn’t mean I qualify for the Young Wizarding Award. Surprisingly, the magic I wish to conjure does as much to my piggy bank, as it does to my cupboards. But it is ok. I am a student, and this is what students do.
Interestingly, it is always the times when you’re queasy from not eating, down on your luck, and penniless (my Natwest account reads -£1.73) that you have the biggest revelations. Standing in my kitchen, famished, I truly realised how big my cupboards were. A little bit proud of how much food was once stored in my cupboards; tears came to my eyes at how much I used to eat, before I was poor. And now all I have is water and salt. Water and salt! No matter how slowly I say it, I fail to believe even Jamie Oliver could rustle up something even a smidgen gourmet. I suppose, when I really do hit rock bottom I can eat all the salt, and lay myself, sacrificially on my kitchen floor, and let my housemates prod me with chop sticks. Jamie, if you’re reading, this is not an invitation.
This is when I consider it. I have sunk to such a level, that the thought entrapped itself in my sub-conscious. An epiphany you may say.
Theft is not something I’m proud of. But Emily (my unsuspecting, sleeping, down-right nice housemate), has Supernoodles. If you don’t know what Supernoodles are look down your plug hole after you’ve scraped out the remains of your proper food and drained the soapy washing-up water. The tiny chunder-like remains have been scooped up into a packet and sold as edible. Students eat them. Students don’t have active taste buds (May I refer you back to my staple foods). I have water; it seems this relationship (Supernoodles and I) is meant to be.
The more I try to put myself off stealing from my own housemate, the more the idea seems perfect…don’t judge me; I’m not a bad person. As a law student (“oh, the irony” I hear you cry), I’m tacitly weighing up pros and cons. Mwah ha ha, if I dispose of all remains they’ll have no proof and I will be free. You may call it selfish, but I wish to survive this year still on speaking terms with both my stomach and my housemates. Saying this, desperate times call for desperate measures.
My awareness increases; the reassuring feeling of the FEAR strikes my belly. I am quiet. I am cunning. I am stealth. As if theft isn’t bad enough, I celebrate the conquest with a victory kitchen-dance, before I reside to my bedroom with a content stomach and a face the look of guilt.
As I cuddle into bed with a re-run of Doctor Who (David Tennant of course), I hear the latch go on the door. The kettle boils in the kitchen and the routine begins again. It must be Jordan. I hear the cupboards open. I know what he’s thinking, so I set my alarm for 7am… If I’m not here when Emily wakes up, she’ll never suspect a thing.
Written by Hannah Van Den Bergh
Illustrated by Henry Boon